‘Thus I have spoken to RSS and Communists’

NATIONAL UNITY DAY

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel

We have just now heard people shouting that Muslims should be removed from India. Those who do so have gone mad with anger. A lunatic is something better than a person who is mad with rage. One can be treated, and perhaps cured, but the other loses complete control of himself. They do not realise that they stand to gain nothing by driving out a handful of Muslims.

At the same time, we have to sympathise with these people who have lost their dear ones and their valuables. I have just now come from Rajkot. Thousands are coming to Kathiawar deprived of everything that they possessed. Anger rules their hearts and turns their minds completely. But we have to tolerate all this. At the same time, so long as we are in Government, we have to govern. If we cannot act as trustees for the entire population, irrespective of religion, caste or creed, we do not deserve to be where we are. Shouts like these cause me worry and agony. I frankly ask myself, “Are we to admit before the world that we are not fit to rule?”

Nevertheless, we cannot blind ourselves to the fact that we have achieved something by making India more united today than it was at any time during the past several centuries. We should unite more, but that requires a determined effort. In such united India, Muslims should feel as secure as the rest of the population. For this, however, Muslims will also have to change their outlook. They must forget the lesson of the two-nation theory which has been taught to them. We have to create an atmosphere in which Pakistan can go the way it likes, and India can follow its own course.The nation’s leader, Jawaharlal, has, during the last few months, aged by ten years. He is indescribably worried and anguished. I appeal to you to reflect on what is happening.

On Partition

My colleagues and I have agreed to the partition of the country not because of fear or out of a sense of defeat. Under the prevailing conditions in the country partition on the present pattern was the best thing possible and I have no qualms about it.

I would make no efforts to explain away the responsibility of the Congress for dividing the country. We took these extreme steps after great deliberation. In spite of my previous strong opposition to partition, I agreed to it because I felt convinced that in order to keep India united it must be divided now.

The only way out of the sickening situation, the Congress realized, lay in the elimination of the third party, the British power. The British, on their part, declared that they would quit by June 1948. But the period was long. Also, their statement promising to hand over power to the authorities in the provinces gave rise to a vigorous effort to dislodge the Ministries in Assam, the Punjab and the Frontier. The League succeeded in the Punjab.

In order to settle the issue immediately and prevent the slaughter of innocent people, the Congress decided to agree to the division of the country and demanded the partition of the Punjab and Bengal. This was no surrender to the League threats or policy of appeasement.

On Communists and RSS

Why are these Communists creating trouble there (Hyderabad)? How did they grow? To the Communists, my appeal may be in vain, because they do not listen. I told them immediately after my release from jail last time that I was prepared to take all the Communists into the Congress, to forget the past and keep the doors open provided they give up violence and cease to draw their inspiration from foreign countries.

That is one section of the people with whom we have to deal; the other is the RSS I have made them an open offer: ‘Change your plans, give up secrecy, eschew communal conflict, respect the Constitution of India, show your loyalty to the Flag and make us believe that we can trust your words. To say one thing and to do another is a game which will not do.

We are not going to allow them to play with fire so that the house is not set on fire. It would be criminal to allow young men to indulge in acts of violence and destruction, to let the lessons that our neighbouring countries have learnt be wasted on us. Thus I have spoken to the RSS and to the Communists.

 

(Edited excerpts from FOR A UNITED INDIA — Speeches of Sardar Patel - 1947-1950, published by Publications Division, MIB, GoI)

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